The History Of Cloning
Cloning has a long history. Animals that reproduce sexually produce clones whenever identical twins are born. These twins are genetically indistinguishable, and are formed when a fertilized egg separates at a very early stage of development. Clones are also the natural product of asexual reproduction, although in this case perfect clones cannot be maintained through an infinite number of generations, because spontaneous mutations can and do occur. Lastly, clones can be produced by regeneration in both plants and animals. For example, plant cuttings will regenerate roots and, ultimately, an entire "new" plant, and some invertebrates, such as planaria, can regenerate two identical animals if the adult is cut in half. In these forms, cloning has been with us for a very long time.
Since the mid-1960s, scientists have been able to culture plant cells, that is, grow cells from plants such as tobacco and carrots in a petri dish, to get thousands of genetically identical cells. From such cultured cells an unlimited quantity of cloned plants can then be grown. These cultured cells can be modified to contain recombinant, or cloned, DNA as well.